It is a well-known fact that physical activity is connected to mental wellbeing. From the ancient Roman times, the motto mens sana in corpore sano, meaning “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, has been used to express how physical exercise is an important part of mental well-being.
Research shows that if you have good physical health, you are more likely to have good mental health and how having an active lifestyle can prevent us from developing mental health problems. In this blog post we focus on how we can take care of our physical health and how this can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing.
So what are the A, B, C, to a good physical health?
A) Sleep – Having trouble sleeping or experiencing irregular sleep patterns can have a serious impact on your mental health. Negative feelings are likely to become more prevalent and this can have an impact on your mood, finding you are more irritable and less confident.
Having a regular sleep routine, avoiding stimulants (especially before going to bed), sleeping in a dark and cool room and having a comfortable bed are proven to help you sleep better. Furthermore, relaxing before going to bed and doing regular physical activity during the day can help you sleep. However, avoid doing exercise late in the evening as the brain chemicals it releases (endorphins, aka happy hormones) give you energy, which can affect your ability to sleep.
B) Diet – Eating healthily has a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Eating a well-balanced diet at regular meal-times with plenty of water and vegetables will help you feel more healthy and happy. Stopping or reducing your alcohol intake and avoiding tobacco and recreational drugs can also help improve your general mental and physical wellbeing.
The famous saying “we are what we eat” is a good reminder of the crucial role our diet has on our wellbeing.
C) Physical activity – is good for mental health, particularly if you exercise outdoors. Being active can help reduce depression and anxiety and boost your self-confidence. It also releases endorphins, ‘feel-good’ hormones that can help improve your mood. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer gardening, gentle walking or something more active – you will almost always feel better for having done some physical activity. If your job requires you to sit for long periods during the day and you have to use a lot of brain power, make sure you take some time to balance that out with some time you dedicate to yourself and your body’s wellbeing.
Given that our mental and physical wellbeing are connected, by following these A, B, C’s you’ll be fostering a mind and body balance in your daily routine, inviting more positivity and resilience in your life.
Author: Sarah Speziali, Chief Therapist at InsideOut